Andy MacPhail made a number of moves this off season that could have been (and were, in many instances) met with disdain from the Birdland faithful. But one move has paid dividends this year, and that's the acquisition of J.J. Hardy. Hardy currently leads the team in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and awesomeness.
I'm not telling you guys anything you don't already know. Despite an early season injury, James Jerry has done nothing less than be delightful since arriving in Baltimore. He is currently enjoying the finest offensive season of his career, and it's nice having a guy at shortstop that doesn't make you flinch when the ball goes in his direction.
Since coming off the disabled list, all Hardy has done is hit .308/.378/.500 with five doubles and six home runs. He's broken the curse of fast guys who can't hit batting lead off, and given that his .368 OBP is tops on the team, it seems that he is right where he belongs. It's a small sample size, sure, but Hardy has proven in the past that he's capable of hitting like this (maybe not THIS well, but you get my drift).
Way back in April I wrote about extending J.J. Hardy, and "Extend this man!" has become a battle cry in the game threads when he does something good (which is every game). Now we're finally hearing that the Orioles are interested in keeping him around. Given my general cynicism regarding the team, the fact that extending him is a good idea makes me think it won't happen. But ignore that for a minute and instead imagine having the shortstop position manned by an above-average player for the next few years.
Thank you to the Minnesota Twins for thinking J.J. Hardy was worth Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. And thank you Andy MacPhail for wheeling that deal. And thanks to Hardy for helping drive the memories of Luis Hernandez, Brandon Fahey, Alex Cintron, Cesar Izturis, Freddie Bynum, and He Who Shall Not Be Named from my mind.